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The Evils of Tanning Beds


OK, so you've had a few days of steady rain, and going to the beach isn't an option. But you're starting to notice your pasty white skin, and you'd like to do something about it. Or ... it's January, and tanning outside is a little brisk.

So you head to a tanning bed, and -- voila! -- in a few short minutes, you've got that tan you wanted.

What's the problem with this scenario? You're inevitably going to get complaints from people who tell you that a tanning bed is somehow dangerous.

Nonsense.

A tanning bed is not "dangerous," is not a "voluntary coffin," (to quote my mother's dermatologist) and isn't silly.

It's a way of getting tanned, a way of getting your body's needed dose of vitamin D.

Your body doesn't differentiate: the UV rays react on the skin whether you're out on the sand for a few hours, or spending 10 minutes on a tanning bed.

10 minutes is a good rule of thumb: it's roughly equal to an hour in the sun. It's easy, relatively cheap (look for specials) and is especially good for those times when you don't have time to spend in the sun, or can't because of the weather.

Of course, watch your time. Most places won't let you use more than 20 minutes at a pop, but even that's a long time, if you haven't had any UV exposure for a while. Start slow, ease in, and enjoy your tan.

And if it's December, enjoy the envy of your pasty-skinned friends. If your looking good bothers them, suggest they get therapy.

Jim Huffman, RN specializes in natural and alternative healing therapies. His first book is 'Dare to Be Free: How to Get Control of Your Time, Your Life, and Your Nursing Career,' and is aimed at helping other nurses find satisfying, dynamic careers. His website is http://www.NetworkForNurses.com and his health blog is at http://www.shababa.blogspot.com


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